Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 13 October 18:
1. Jeremiah 14:7 — “Though our iniquities testify against us, act, O Lord, for your name’s sake; for our backslidings are many; we have sinned against you.” We must approach the Lord in true humility as a repentant sinner amazed by grace, and our desire must be Him rather than merely something from Him for ourselves. Often God uses our desperation to draw us to Him, but He wants you to recognize your relationship problem with Him rather than just your physical problem. The reality is, no matter how much we are blessed on this earth, our physical life will end in death, but our relationship with Him (whether positive or negative) will endure for eternity.
2. Jeremiah 14:8-10 – “’Why should you be like a stranger in the land, like a traveler who turns aside to tarry for a night?… Yet you, O Lord, are in the midst of us, and we are called by your name; do not leave us.’…. ” Thus says the Lord concerning this people: ‘They have loved to wander thus; they have not restrained their feet; therefore the Lord does not accept them; now he will remember their iniquity and punish their sins.’” The sinful people suffering from the consequences of their sin maintained the perspective that God had abandoned them and had left them to be victimized unfairly by cruel, blind fate; however, God tells them that He did not abandon them, rather they abandoned Him. They were not suffering from mere random circumstances but by His hand of discipline. Have you ever heard someone say they didn’t believe in God or worship God because they did not believe a god of love would allow ‘innocent’ people to suffer needlessly? That is not a new complaint, and it is just as shallow, self-centered, and misinformed today as it always has been.
3. Jeremiah 14:12 – “Though they fast, I will not hear their cry, and though they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I will not accept them.” God knows the difference between those who are truly repentant and truly seeking Him and those who, on the contrary, merely want God to give them what they are looking for in self-centeredness. Phony religion is contractual – “God if you do this for me, I will do something for you.” True religion is covenantal – “I will love and obey you, regardless of what happens to me.” True religion places God above self through all circumstances.
4. Jeremiah 14:13, 14 – “Then I said: ‘Ah, Lord God, behold, the prophets say to them, ‘You shall not see the sword, nor shall you have famine, but I will give you assured peace in this place.’’ And the Lord said to me: ‘The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds.’” A sinful nation promotes and lifts up preachers who will say what they want to hear and who will not warn against judgment for sin. How many preachers today talk about the looming judgment of God?
5. Jeremiah 15:6 – “I am weary of relenting.” God’s patience doesn’t last forever.
6. Jeremiah 15:16 – “Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts.” Henry T. Blackaby — If you were to receive a note from the leader of your country or someone famous, you would probably save it as a keepsake. How much more precious is a message from almighty God! Sometimes we find ourselves in circumstances that are beyond our control. This was the case for Mary and Martha as they were grieving the death of their brother Lazarus. At these times a word from Jesus can bring much rejoicing (John 11:41-45). Other times when Jesus speaks, His words bring correction. “Get behind Me, Satan!” (Matt. 16:23) and “O you of little faith” (Matt. 14:31) do not seem to bring joy. Yet Jeremiah said that God’s word brought him joy. It is overwhelming to consider that holy, almighty God would speak directly to us! What a privilege that He would care enough to challenge our destructive thoughts or practices. No matter whether His words are praising us or chastising us, we ought to consider it joy to receive life-changing words from our Master! Every time we prepare to worship the Lord, we ought to do so with anticipation that almighty God may have something to say to us. Whenever we open our Bibles, we should expect that God has something to tell us in our time with Him. We ought to be far more concerned with what God will say to us during our prayer times than with what we intend to tell Him. When you receive a word from your Lord, whether it be of praise or of correction, consider it joy that almighty God would speak to you.
7. Jeremiah 15:17 – “I did not sit in the company of revelers, nor did I rejoice; I sat alone, because your hand was upon me, for you had filled me with indignation.” Holiness can be lonely like leadership. When you are leading the race, you are often running harder than everyone else and running alone. It takes great physical and moral courage to be a faithful Christian. Few are willing to persevere on the hard road.
8. Jeremiah 15:19 – “If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless, you shall be as my mouth. They shall turn to you, but you shall not turn to them.” We are called to be Ambassadors for Jesus, to speak on His behalf. We are not called to represent ourselves on this earth but to help reconcile the divide between God and men. Who will influence who? Will you influence the world around you, or will the world be more of an influence on you? Is the spirit in you really greater that the spirit in the world? Will you be bright and salty today or dim and tasteless?
9. Jeremiah 16:16 — “Behold, I am sending for many fishers, declares the Lord, and they shall catch them.” Compare this prophetic verse with the call from Jesus to his disciples: “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19) Are you a good fisherman?
10. Proverbs 13:5 – “The righteous hates falsehood, but the wicked brings shame and disgrace.” The righteous will desire obedience.
11. Psalm 119 is the longest Psalm in the Bible and uses each letter of the Hebrew alphabet to teach a spiritual lesson. Psalm 119 is a great Psalm to review regularly. Read the whole thing and see if it does not inspire you to diligently study and live by God’s Word.
12. Psalm 119:5 – “Oh that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes!” Is this your earnest desire?
13. Psalm 119:9-16 – “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me your statutes! With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth. In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.” A wholehearted seeking of the Lord requires fully committed Bible study, memorization, and application. It also requires evangelism. Are you a wholehearted follower of Jesus?
– Psalm 119 is my favorite Psalm – it is also the longest.
14. Psalm 119:18 – “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.” Anyone, through intellectual knowledge, can know what is in the Bible, but it requires the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit to truly understand what it means, and it takes the power of the Holy Spirit to live it. Godliness is much more than an intellectual pursuit; it is a spiritual endeavor. Some of the most influential atheists in the world can quote the Bible better than many Christians; in fact, Satan tempted Jesus with Bible quotes. Spiritual discernment however is available only to those saved through Jesus, empowered by the Holy Spirit.
15. Psalm 119:20 – “My soul is consumed with longing for your rules at all times.” Is this your consuming longing today? You might say, “I don’t want rules; I want Jesus.” Good, but understand that the rules of God are the application of His desires and intent, a reflection of what is on His heart; they are His perfect will. Shouldn’t you care most about what Jesus cares most about if you are desiring to be His real friend and to walk with Him? Or, do you want a relationship with Him only on your terms?
16. Psalm 119:30 – “I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I set your rules before me.” Love and faithfulness go hand-in-hand. Have you chosen the way of love and faithfulness?
17. Psalm 119:36 – “Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain!” Selfishness is what separates you from God. This is why Jesus said the first step to coming after Him is to deny self.
18. Psalm 119:46, 47 – “I will also speak of your testimonies before kings and shall not be put to shame, for I find my delight in your commandments, which I love.” Testifying about Jesus is not hard at all for someone who truly loves Him and knows His word.
19. Psalm 119:51 – “The insolent utterly deride me, but I do not turn away from your law.” Throughout all of history, God’s people have had to endure ridicule from the ungodly. This is inevitable. Rejoice if you find yourself in the company of the many faithful who have suffered before you as you carry on the torch of the Good News.
20. Psalm 119:72 – “The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.” Something will have priority in your life, God or something else. Most people who claim to be Christian are actually influenced day-to-day by a higher priority than Jesus, usually something connected to self-preservation or self-fulfillment. Following Jesus will always be a leap of faith and love, requiring you to give up your life that you may have real life in Him.
21. Psalm 119:90 – “Your faithfulness endures to all generations; you have established the earth, and it stands fast.” Opinions about God change from generation to generation, but God doesn’t change. Your personal opinion matters little unless your opinion is God’s unchanging truth revealed through His word and the Holy Spirit.
22. Psalm 119:99, 100 – “I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the aged, for I keep your precepts.” The learned scholars are but blind guides as are the theologians with seminary degrees who do not live out the words of Jesus and glorify Him alone in absolute humility. The greatest spiritual leader in your community may be the man on the street corner who no one notices. Man-made positions and recognitions are not God’s measure of success. Find and surround yourself with the true followers of Jesus.
23. Psalm 119:129 – “Your testimonies are wonderful; therefore my soul keeps them.” Ultimately, obedience only comes from love. If you are trying to obey from a position of fear, self-righteousness or duty, you will still fall short because anything other than love is self-centered.
24. Psalm 119:136 – “My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law.” When was the last time you were consumed in sorrow by the sins of others?
25. Psalm 119:147, 148 – “I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words. My eyes are awake before the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promise.” Do you begin and end each day with dedicated time with the Lord?
26. Psalm 119:160 – “The sum of your word is truth, every one of your righteous rules endures forever.” To know God’s whole truth, you must know His whole word; you must study the Bible in total, not just bits and pieces of it.
27. Psalm 119:175, 176 – “Let my soul live and praise you, and let your rules help me. I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant, for I do not forget your commandments.” We were created to love, obey, worship, and praise God. However, we were also created to be totally dependent upon Him, powerless, and defenseless in our own strength like sheep. We must follow the voice of the Shepherd and remain in His protection. We must follow the Shepherd not trusting in our sheepish knowledge. Sheep like to wander off to their own peril. We must understand that we are just like sheep. Stay as close as you can to the Shepherd.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 13 Oct 18: Read Psalm 119 carefully, meditate upon it, and apply it beginning today to your daily walk with Jesus. (see notes above)